Chewing gum is considered bad in many cases, especially in learning institutions. But, is chewing gum really that bad?
Of course, like most things in the world, chewing gum has its downside. For example, it can cause a migraine and excessive gas in adolescents. But, a growing body of scientific studies have linked it with many surprising benefits.
Here are some awesome health benefits of chomping on a stick of gum you probably didn’t know about, but should.
1Chewing gum helps Improve memory and cognitive performance.
Research from the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Japan, and other centers suggest that the act of continuous chewing or moving of the jaws improves oxygen delivery to the brain, production of more glucose, disposal of CO2 and increased activity in the area of the brain that is responsible for memory called hippocampus.
These improved processes induce an increase in alertness, arousal level and motor control, which ultimately could lead to improvements in memory and cognitive performance.
Before you get too excited and go overboard with this, experts warn chewing too much gum could interfere with short-term memory. Just go slow on the chewing.
2Chewing gum helps burn the calories and manage weight.
Another study from the Mayo Clinic found that the body burns 11 calories an hour through the simple act of working the jaw. It gets even better.
According to Investigators at Louisiana State University, adults who chewed gum three times hourly after lunch reported decreased feelings of hunger and cravings for sweet foods.
Both regular and sugar free chewing gum were found to help adults eat less snacks than adults who did not chew gum.
Feel free to chew some gum after lunch to stave off hunger, reduce cravings and manage your weight.
Also Read: The life stages of a tooth explained
3Chewing gum helps fight addiction to stimulants
Again this benefit comes down to the physical act of gum chewing. When you chew gum for a few minutes, it not only helps to reduce your cravings for snacks, but can also help fight (or simply provide diversion) from cravings for addictive stimulants, such as nicotine and caffeine.
So, if you are trying to beat bad habits like smoking, chewing gum is a handy strategy you can add to your stock of anti-smoking ammunition.
4Chewing gum helps prevent tooth decay
The saliva produced in the mouth when you chew can neutralize plaque acids, wash away food particles and fight cavities and bacteria in the mouth, thereby protecting teeth from decay.
The American Dental Association (ADA) says you should look for gum with its ADA-approved seal and recommends “chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals” in order to help prevent tooth decay.”
Keep in mind, though, chewing gum is not a substitute for brushing and flossing, but an adjunct for either.
5Chewing gum helps reduce symptoms of stress
Psychologists and psychiatrists have known for years chewing gum reduces tension and helps to release nervous energy. They believe chewing gum can provide an outlet for pent up anger, irritation and frustration.
Recent studies seem to concur as more researchers observe that the rhythmic motion of chewing gum has a stress-reducing effect because it relaxes and satisfies feelings.
Next time you’re feeling uptight or angry, pull out a stick of gum and try chewing for a few minutes to release the steam.
6Chewing gum helps improve digestion
Chewing gum does not directly help you digest food, but it can help improve the performance of your digestive system.
The human body is designed to activate the digestive process through chewing. When you chew gum, the saliva flow produced in the mouth promotes easier swallowing of food and activates the enzymes and acids that digest food.
Chewing gum after a meal when these enzymes are needed most for digestion helps some people avoid indigestion.
However, limit chewing to when you have eaten, otherwise the enzymes and acids can cause bloating and overproduction of stomach acid.
7Chewing gum helps relieve heartburn and reflux
Chewing gum can help stimulate the production of acid-neutralizing saliva, which may relieve reflux and heartburn.
However, if the gum is flavored with peppermint it can irritate heartburn and cause reflux. Avoid peppermint flavored gum that might bring the opposite result from the desired acid-neutralizing effect in the stomach.
Remember: There is no standard effect of chewing gum on everyone, but overall gum chewing seems more beneficial than it is harmful.
Unfortunately, once you spit out the gum, the awesome benefits mentioned here go with it. There is no persistent carryover of these benefits. Now that is something to chew on!
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